Office of Planning and Budgeting

The Governor’s 2011-13 proposed Capital Budget includes $19.5 million in state building construction funds for a renovation to the Odegaard Undergraduate Learning Center. In addition, the Governor appropriates UW student-generated building fee funds for a variety of projects, including a $4.8 million High Voltage Infrastructure Improvement Project and $25.8 million for preventive maintenance and building repairs.

This Governor’s Capital Budget is the first of many we will see out of Olympia during the upcoming legislative session. Session starts on Monday, January 10, 2011.

A full briefing on the Governor’s proposed 2011-13 Capital Budget is available on our website.

Happy Holidays from the editors of OPBlog! We will be taking a few days off, but will return in full force next week.

We’ve previously mentioned the new book Why Does College Cost So Much? by two economists from the College of William and Mary, Robert Archibald and David Feldman. The authors have made a compelling argument that increasing higher education costs are not the result of institutional dysfunction, but of broader economic forces.

Read our summary of this book, and let us know what you think about their evidence, their conclusions, and their policy recommendations.

Yesterday, the Governor released her 2011-13 budget, and an obscure section of it mandated that all state employees’ salaries, regardless of fund source, be reduced by 3 percent in both fiscal years of the coming biennium.

For the UW, this means that those employees supported by General Operating Funds, working in the hospitals, supported by grants and contracts, and even funded with self-sustaining, locally-derived funds would recieve compensation cuts. While we are still analyzing the feasibility and legality of this wholesale reduction, the Governor’s budget mandates that all state employees receive a pay cut and for the UW, that amounts to $32 million in BOTH FY12 and FY13 (or $12 million per year if we isolate the cuts to just employees supported by our General Operating Fund base).

This action would exacerbate the UW’s state funding cut to 29%.

A revised brief about this action is available on P&B’s website.

The Governor released her 2011-13 Operating Budget today and it calls for major cuts across all state agencies. This is just the first budget released to address the next biennium; we will review and analyze many Legislative budget proposals during session, which starts on Monday, January 10. The Governor’s budget addresses the $5.7 billion deficit forecasted for the coming biennium.

As predicted, the Governor’s budget reduces state support for the UW over the next two years. These cuts came in several forms: budget reductions, fund shifts, and pension cuts. While some of the reductions are “back-filled” with authority to raise resident undergraduate tuition rates 11% per year over the next two years, the additional revenue from doing this and raising tuition for all other students (by commensurate amounts to current 2010-11 rates) will not make up the funding cuts in the Governor’s budget.

Please review our briefing on the Governor’s budget for more information and contact us directly with any questions.

We anticipate that the Governor’s proposal for a third and final FY 2011 Supplemental Budget will be released Friday. Information and analysis on that budget will be available Friday on this blog and on our website.

We are pretty excited by opportunities to view and present large sets of complex data via interactive maps. The New York Times has developed one such map that allows you to explore the recently released US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey results by zip code, city or census tract. Mapping America: Every City, Every Block is an amazing new tool that not only makes exploring such a large dataset much simpler and more enjoyable, but allows the user to more effectively marshal data to answer specific questions from multiple levels of analysis.

Speaking of the wonder of interactive maps, hopefully you’ve had a chance to check out the new UW in Your Community Map recently launched by the UW Office of State Relations. This interactive map allows you to see a selection of the many activities the UW is involved in across the state. The map will continue to evolve and grow, and is a fantastic way to learn about many amazing UW projects and initiatives, as well as all of the ways in which the University contributes to our state and local economies.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has also been increasing their development and publication of interactive maps, including this mapping of state cuts to higher education that they developed last year using data collected by our Office of Planning and Budgeting.

And to see interactive maps taken to a whole new level, watch this four minute BBC presentation from Global Health researcher Hans Rosling.

As consumers and presenters of data, we look forward to the increasing use of these kinds of tools, and we are very grateful for the highly skilled tech folks who design them!

Three op-eds published recently by local newspapers outline the changing relationship between Washington State and its public higher education institutions. All three op-eds call for the state to increase institutional flexibility in the face of large budget cuts.

The Governor will release her initial state budget for the 09-11 biennium this morning. Stay tuned to the Office of State Relations and the Office of Planning and Budgeting for information about how higher education and the UW are affected.

The Washington State Legislature quickly passed a second supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2011 on Saturday, which closed $580 million of the FY11 $1.1 billion deficit. More cutting must be done; we anticipate that this action will occur in a final supplemental budget, which would be adopted in January 2011, likely as the first action of the 2011 legislative session set to begin on Monday, January 10th.

This Saturday’s budget included reductions to many areas of government but Basic Education, Human Services, and the Department of Social and Health Services were hardest hit. Meanwhile, Higher Education received a revision of October’s across-the-board cuts in order to maintain a  federally-required maintenance of effort (MOE) funding floor. While this federal requirement spared individual higher education institutions from major cuts this month, the MOE does not apply to state-funded financial aid programs, and the next round of FY11 cuts will likely include reductions to the State Need Grant.

Please review our briefing on Saturday’s budget for more information and contact us directly with any questions.

The results of a Stanford University/AP education poll conducted in September were released yesterday. The representative group of respondents confirmed earlier data on the same topic, mainly that Americans believe strongly that higher education is a vital economic engine and that more Americans should participate in it, but that they are not very willing to pay higher taxes to increase public support for institutions.

Some of the most compelling findings included:

  • 88% believe that higher education has a very large or large impact on the overall prosperity of the country.
  • 79% believe that the US economy would improve if all Americans had at least a two-year degree.
  • 74% believe that the quality of education provided by four year public institutions in their state is excellent or good.
  • Survey respondents primarily blame students and parents for graduation rates, whether high or low.
  • Only 42% favor or somewhat favor raising taxes to increase support for higher education, while 46% oppose raising taxes.

The Chronicle reports that British Parliament has approved controversial higher education reforms that are expected to skyrocket college prices by as much as three times current rates (see previous post: Britain Rethinks Higher Ed Financing). Elsewhere, the Chronicle details ongoing student and faculty protests across Europe in response to these and similar proposals in other European countries.

As state budgets in the US continue to face growing deficits, another year of sharp tuition increases may also be likely in this country.

The University of California Commission on the Future recently released its final report addressing potential solutions for keeping public higher education in California vibrant in the face of declining resources.

A group that included regents, administrators, faculty and students, the Commission’s 50 page report recommended a host of actions for UC to consider, including:

  • Expand on the somewhat controversial UC Online Instruction Pilot Project
  • Develop and offer three year degree programs where feasible
  • Increase nonresident student enrollment from 6% to 10% to generate additional tuition revenue
  • Ease the community college student transfer process

The Commission also acknowledged that in extreme financial circumstances the UC system might need to consider raising both tuition and nonresident enrollment even more sharply, and consider decreasing resident enrollment and/or financial aid.

The Commission rejected other popular proposals such as differentiated tuition by major or class status, and the practice of cohort tuition pricing.

The UC Commission’s recommendations are familiar to anyone keeping up with current discourse on higher education reforms. While the recommendations may have considerable merit, none constitute the re-imagining recently proposed by one of UC’s own, John Aubrey Douglass.

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